Photo/IllutrationText data to be shown on digital signage (Provided by Dai Nippon Printing Co.)

Two companies have come up with a device that converts audio warnings into text and images displayed on digital signage to help hearing-impaired people and foreign tourists in times of disaster.

Broadcasting equipment maker TOA Corp. in Kobe and Dai Nippon Printing Co. in Tokyo are calling on local governments and private businesses to introduce the system, which can show the warnings on signage at commercial facilities and other sites.

Combining broadcasting equipment with digital signage technology, the system turns audio warnings about earthquakes and tsunami, for example, into messages such as: "An earthquake has occurred. A tsunami is expected."

The text can be displayed in English, Chinese and other foreign languages. Different images and video footage of typhoons, flooding and volcanic eruptions can be displayed in sync with audio warnings.

TOA and Dai Nippon Printing will consider connecting their product with the public earthquake alert messaging system and the National Early Warning System (J-Alert) in the future.

On Jan. 17, the 24th anniversary of the Great Hanshin Earthquake, the newly developed system was used in an evacuation drill on the assumption of a tsunami in Kobe. It was also used in Tokyo’s Machida on Jan. 21 in an emergency drill.